Not In My Back Yard

Timlynn Babitsky | Issues: Strategies & Tactics,NIMBY | Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

by Timlynn Babitsky
Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY), Not Off My Back Porch (NOMBP) and Anywhere But Here (ABH) make good t-shirt logos and fun sound bites in the media. They also provide excellent road maps for wind project supporters. How do you change resistance to support?

The role for wind project organizers is not to put on boxing gloves to beat resistance down but to change resistors to supporters – or at least neutral wait-and-see bystanders.

Your most vocal resistors give you key insights into how you might change their minds.

By asking questions about the people against your project, you will learn a great deal that can help you formulate strategies to counter their resistance. Who, What , Where and How can help you understand Why. Once you understand why people are against your project you have a context to chip away at their resistence.   

Who wears the NIMBY, NOMBP or ABH t-shirts (real or virtual)? What’s their demographic profile?

  • How old are they?
  • Are they generally males or females?
  • What’s their education, income and socioeconomic level?
  • Are they married, divorced, single?
  • Are they home owners or renters?

Where do they have influence?

  • Where do they live?
  • Where do they work?
  • Are they group leaders or group members?
  • Are they vocal opinion leaders?
  • Are they high profile stakeholders or irate local individuals?

How do they influence others?

  • Are they organizing protest groups?
  • Are they writing letters to the editors of newspapers?
  • Are they speaking out against the wind project? Where?
  • Are they pressuring decision makers? Who? How?

What are their issues?

  • Aesthetics?
  • Bird migration?
  • Noise?
  • Turbine height?
  • Radar Interference?
  • Other?

To change resistors to supporters, wind project activists need to first accept that all perspectives have validity. Resistors have the same rights to their opinions as do supporters. Your challenge as a wind project supporter is to change resistance to support. How do you do that?

Study your adversaries carefully. Research their issues fully, use the media to provide honest/candid information about those issues, and talk directly with individual resistors.

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